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Faith Imagined: Sacrificed, Stoned and Saved

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

May 25, 2008

Sacrificed, Stoned and Saved

In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, "Stand up on your feet!" At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.

When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in human form!" Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.

But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: "Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy."

Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them. Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe. - Acts 14:8-20

I remember reading this and God told me that this is what happens to people who preach and teach the Gospel. People may hear them speak or read their books and be so moved that they will want to sacrifice to them, putting them on a pedestal instead of God. Other people might be so angered by them and their ministry that they will want to stone them and criticize them.

I remember thinking about all the people who I know in ministry. And it is so true. So many of us want to put them on a pedestal, and we believe that they are so much holier and more righteous than we are. We literally are more moved and in awe of them instead of moved and in awe of the awesome God that shines and works through them.

Other times we judge people in ministry and we want to knock them down because they aren't perfect or they aren't doing their ministry they way we want them to. We want to gossip and persecute them for anything that we see that isn't godly. We stare at every minute detail of their lives with our judging eyes just waiting for a reason to throw the first stone.

That's how Paul's ministry was. People wanted to sacrifice to him and others wanted to stone him. But, God whispered one more word to me during my meditation -- Saved! Yes, people will sacrifice to you when you share the Gospel and they may even stone you, but others may become saved from a meaningless and hopeless life and realized that God showed Himself to us 2000 years ago through Christ and still shows Himself today.

So here are the three things you get to look forward to when you start your own personal ministry:

1. You will be sacrificed to
2. You will be stoned
3. However, people will be saved

Those are the three S's of ministry!

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Blogger Kristen said...

I really enjoyed your post and it couldn't have come at a better time. I don't know that I've ever been "sacrificed" to...I don't think anyone has ever thought that highly of me and I hope they never do. I know I've been "stoned" by some though and it sure isn't fun. At times it has been gut-wrenching. However, your number three makes it all worth it. Yes, the struggle is worth it when you see lives being changed! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Web Bible Babes said...

Man that was a great meditation! Thanks for the insight!

8:50 PM  

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